Diageo receiving ‘tremendous’ support from May
Ivan Menezes, chief executive of drinks giant Diageo, has revealed the company is getting “tremendous support” from Prime Minister Theresa May in the wake of Brexit.
Speaking during a round table in London following the release of the company’s positive half-year results to 31 December 2016, Menezes said: “The clarity on Brexit is helpful – we’re getting a tremendous amount of support from Theresa May’s government.
“We have a thriving Scotch industry, with new distilleries opening and jobs growing. The key now is to open up export markets and create conditions for the Scotch industry to thrive as its one of the leading export businesses in the UK.
“I’m feeling good about the level of support we’re getting from the May government.”
Menezes joined May on a trip to India last November with the intention of strengthening the UK’s economic ties with the country in a bid to re-boot an age-old relationship.
Menezes was bullish about the UK’s chances of leapfrogging the EU in signing a favourable free trade agreement with India once article 50 is triggered.
“India is a big market for the UK and Scotch duties are so high there at the moment. I find it hard to predict what kind of free trade agreement will be made, but the UK could move ahead of Europe in terms of getting an FTA with India,” Menezes said.
“Our half-year results in India were very positive, particularly in the prestige market, where sales were up by 11%,” he added.
Speaking in more general terms about Diageo’s half-year results, Menezes said he was most pleased about the fact that they were broad based and across different regions and categories.
“Scotch’s momentum is very pleasing as all of our key brands are doing well with strong growth and a consistent performance.
“The business is coming through strongly and we’re confident about delivering our growth ambitions,” he said.
“The changes we’ve made to the company in terms of marketing, innovation and route to market have made us more agile in responding to shifts in the economy much more quickly, but the world is still choppy and it’s not easy.
“Emerging markets like Brazil and Russia are impacted more by fluctuating exchange rates, especially in Scotch. The goal is to create more resilience in our performance,” he added.